The start of a new season is often marked with a slight wardrobe reshuffle, as we pack away our winter wears to make room for spring/summer finery.
Yet, this year, the start of spring was very different. With the entire country going into lockdown, our fashion choices took a back seat.
Spring/summer fashion trends, which hit the runway last September to pre-empt our upcoming wardrobes, have been shelved in favour of comfy loungewear.
But with these measures easing in the UK, it’s finally time to take a look at this season’s trends.
Other than the obvious wardrobe essentials (sun hats, dresses, and swimwear, which our guide to summer dressing covers), you’ll want to wear polka dots, puffed sleeves and Bermuda shorts to reflect the latest sartorial staples.
Make up for lost time with these on-point pieces inspired by spring/summer catwalks. From Gucci to Richard Quinn, here’s the lowdown on the trends you need to tap into right now.
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Fashion Polka dots
Last year’s viral Zara midi is testament to just how dotty we are about the polka print.
Although it remains a constant in many of our wardrobes, this season, designers including Gucci and Marc Jacobs played with the classic print by moving beyond the usual black-and-white combo to something more oversized and bold.
At Richard Quinn and Balenciaga, polka dots were used on more interesting silhouettes – including, of course, oversized shoulders. It’s safe to say we’re obsessed.
Channel Gucci’s green number with this Jenny green polka dot linen dress (Kitri, £145) – a gorgeous colour that is universally flattering. In true Gucci fashion, colour clash and style with a pair of Loq orange sandals (My Theresa, £145).
For something even more colourful, you can’t go wrong with this Never Fully Dressed multi printed patsy maxi dress (Never Fully Dressed, £89). Featuring a pussy bow tie, it is an oversized and relaxed fit, and would even work for a summer wedding (if you’re one of the lucky 30 attendees). Go forth and be brave with maximalist print energy.
If it’s larger spots you’re after, go for this simple yet stylish Ganni strap dress (Liberty, £250). Wear it with a pair of gold studded sandals (Russel & Bromley, £175), which perfectly adheres to this season’s shoelery trend, and add a Roop clutch bag (Selfridges, £65) for a pop of colour. An easy way to make a statement, yet feel comfortable.
Another way to wear the trend is with a trusty blouse. This understated bold and white spot ruched top (Topshop, £19) is a firm favourite. Wear it with a pair of mid blue straight leg jeans (Topshop, £49) and Stan Smith trainers (Adidas, £74.95) for an off-duty weekend look.
Imitate Marc Jacobs’ slouchy polka dot trousers for a fraction of the price with these high wasted pair by Oysho (Zalando, £25.99). You can make them office-appropriate with a black blouse (Mango, £19.99) – if you opt fo this one, we’d advise sizing up for a chic oversized fit.
Fashion Suited and booted
Relaxed tailoring and menswear-inspired cuts were big news among the designers this season.
And the style was not exclusive to trouser suits, since shorts and skirt suits proved popular too. With each designer showcasing their own take on the trend – Victoria Beckham upped her suiting, shirting, and skirt game, while Givenchy channelled “raw boyish energy” with its short suits, and Rejina Pyo went classically peppy, with shorts cut thigh high – there’s a lot to choose from.
If you’re sceptical about approaching this look, consider the transitional appeal of a great blazer and you’ll be sold.
Chanel’s creative director, Virginie Viard, debuted her first ready-to-wear show since the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, and the collection was stripped back to emphasise the silhouette and the signature Chanel tweed textures.
If you’re feeling inspired by the French fashion house, pair this this mini skirt (Mango, £19.99) and button tweed blazer (Mango, £39.99) to don a similar look. While both be worn separately, they look nothing but chic when paired together.
Wear a simple black ripped top (Gap, £12.95) underneath, or button up the blazer to mimic the Chanel “it girl” tweed playsuit. Accessorise with a totally on trend rattan bucket bag (Mango, £49.99), and you might just feel like you’re sipping coffee in a Parisian café.
If you’re looking to rock the Bermuda shorts look, cast aside memories of short shorts and cropped blazers and embrace breeziness and elongated proportions with another favourite from Mango.
This chic pair of high-waisted Bermuda shorts (Mango, £29.99) and pocket soft blazer (Mango, £59.99) is a the combo to go for. As with all tailored two-pieces, wear together for a sophisticated look or separately for something easy.
Fashion Décolletage neckline
When it comes to necklines, it’s all about showing off as much décolletage and shoulder as possible – think scoop, square, and slashed necklines – we’ve got the resurgence of Nineties minimalism to thank for this one.
Khatie’s Maddy ribbed top (My Theresa, £920) was an instant autumn sell-out, and it remains a hero piece now. Bottega Veneta went square, while Jacquemus opted for off the shoulder look; now the coolest way to wear a cardigan this season.
Square cuts have proven popular, with global fashion search platform Lyst reporting a search increase of 61 per cent month-on-month. So, it’s time you got on board and channel your inner Rosie Huntington-Whitley by showing off that neckline.
For a sweetheart cut that won’t break the bank, try this red long-sleeve number (Shein, £8.99). Pair it with dark straight leg jeans (Levi’s, £95) and tan barely there heeled sandals (& Other Stories, £85) à la Rosie Huntington-Whitley.
This look would work well for that first post-lockdown dinner date at a restaurant and is an easy way to catch up on the trends you’ve missed. If red isn’t your bag, Topshop’s ivory square knitted top (Topshop, £15) is bound to please.
Following Bottega Veneta’s new take on the little black dress, it’s never felt fresher. For something for your next trip to the pub (read: out out), it’s got to be this Topshop long sleeve ribbed dress (Topshop, £12). In true Bottega Veneta style, dress it down with rope sandals (& Other Stories, £59).
If you’re looking to tap into Cecilie Bahnsen’s romanticism vibe, try H&M’s puff-sleeve, square-neck dress (H&M, £19.99). Not only does this cover two trends in one, but it’s also the perfect throw on and go dress at a very affordable price point. Wear with a pair of sandals – if it were us, it’d have to be these St Agni olive sandals (St Agni, £160).
Fashion Ethereal white
White ethereal dresses were everywhere on the spring/summer catwalks. Loewe went with delicate lace and Japanese satin numbers as well as gorgeous draped midis, while Alexander McQueen opted for a square neck, macramé trimmed midi, which was perfection.
Consider this the official carefree summer look (just stay away from red wine at the pub). This season was meant to all be about floaty white dresses, let’s make up for lost time.
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White cotton dresses are the sartorial equivalent of an Aperol Spritz on a hot sunny day – Valentino opened its S/S20 show with this style, so it’s clearly a fashion favourite. Think billowing airy sleeves, ruffles, and shirt detailing.
This cotton poplin shirt dress (H&M, £39.99) is the perfect piece to nail the trend, pair with chunky “dad” sandals, which are in for a second year running – we love Prada’s (Browns Fashion, £420), but for something a little kinder to your pocket, go with a pair from the original pioneers, Teva (Free People, £50).
For further trend-led pieces, we love this mini dress (& Other Stories, £59) almost as much as Míe’s tiered hem midi dress (Míe, £115). Featuring cut out detailing at the back – which is very on-trend thanks to Balmain and Emilia Wickstead – and spaghetti straps, you just can’t go wrong. As with the whole collection, everything is made locally in Lagos, Nigeria.
Fashion Puffed sleeves
With a slight revival last year, puffed sleeves are even bigger for 2020. Whether it’s a swell at the shoulder or a more gradual puff to the sleeve, it’s a trend you’ve got to add to your post-lockdown summer wardrobe.
Rejina Pyo, Cecilie Bahnsen, and Richard Quinn all made a compelling case for big sleeves, with bold romantic takes on Renaissance-inspired looks.
For something truly Cecilie Bahnsen, H&M’s latest collection is where it’s at. Opt for either this puff-sleeved dress (H&M, £34.99) with a Loewe-esque basket bag (Mango, £35.99) or pair this crinkled wrapover blouse (H&M, £24.99) with the matching airy skirt (H&M, £39.99). Tuck the top into the skirt for a true Scandi-summer look.
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